DVD Review: The Three Musketeers

STUDIO: Summit | DIRECTOR: Paul W.S. Anderson | CAST: Matthew Macfadyen, Luke Evans, Ray Stevenson, Logan Lerman, Milla Jovovich, Orlando Bloom, Christoph Waltz, Juno Temple
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 3/13/2012 | PRICE: DVD $26.99, Blu-ray $30.49, Blu-ray 3D $34.99
BONUSES: commentary, deleted and extended scenes, cast and crew stories, “17th Century Action”
SPECS: PG-13 | 111 min. | Action adventure | 2.35:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

The latest movie incarnation of Alexandre Dumas’ popular novel The Three Musketeers comes from filmmaker Paul W.S. Anderson, creator of Alien vs. Predator and the Resident Evil series. Those credits should serve hints to audiences looking for a traditional approach to the oft-filed tale that they will not be getting something traditional. And they don’t.

The Three MusketeersHere, along with the origin behind Musketeers Porthos (Ray Stevenson, Thor), Athos (Matthew Mcfadyen, The Pillars of the Earth) and Aramis (Luke Evans, Immortals) of 17th Century France joining forces with young swordsman D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman, Gamer), we get dueling dirigibles designed by Leonardo Da Vinci, brawls and swordfights that play like The Matrix, lavish vistas, stylized wardrobes, punk-styled weaponry, gorgeous backgrounds and loads of action designed with 3-D audiences in mind.The film is certainly a feast for the eyes and it’s surprising that it vanished from theaters so quickly following its wide roll-out; theater audiences may have gotten a charge out of Anderson’s brand of swash and buckle if given the opportunity.

While the flying ships  designed by Leonardo Da Vinci may remind folks of notorious box office led Zeppelin Hudson Hawk, there’s a decent amount of other stuff to appreciate here. The villains are especially tasty, from Milla Jovovich’s (Stone) sexy, scheming M’lady D’Winter and Christophe Waltz’s (Carnage) conniving man-of-the-cloth Cardinal Richeleu to Mads Mikkelsen (Valhalla Rising) as Rochefort, eye-patched leader of Richelieu’s guards.

While this Musketeers outing doesn’t measure up to Richard’s Lester’s lively pair of all-star excursions in the 1970s, it does deliver the apropos fast-paced fun and pageantry with which the films have always been associated. That definitely works for old school fans, and it should also do the job for a newer generation who didn’t know that there other versions before the Kiefer Sutherland-Charlie Sheen-Chris O’Donnell edition from 1993.

The Three Musketeers DVD offers a solid set of extras. For starters, there’s an audio commentary by British director Anderson and producers Jeremy Bolt and Robert Kulzer wherein Anderson takes center stage the majority of the time. At various moments, he points out influences the made it into the film, which can be seen in onscreen tributes to spaghetti westerns, board games like Risk, and the Richard Lester Musketeers movies. Also on tap are segments on the film’s striking look, and how the gorgeous art direction, production design and location filming (in Germany) were achieved. Twelve deleted scenes round out the package, one of which is a better-than-most swordfighting sequence between Lerman and Mikkelsen. We’re still not sure why it was excised…

 

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About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.